Succeeding as a Nontraditional Graduate Student: Building the Right Support Network
Robin L. DeBruyne and Edward F. Roseman
Schedules, routines, and support networks. That is what allows the entire day (and week and semester) to make sense and flow together, from one to the next. From when I (RLD) get up, to when my daughter goes to bed, and beyond. Trial and error has taught me that following our schedules and routines brings a day with fewer tantrums, better eating, and, most importantly, better sleeping than the unscheduled day. One of the best scheduled events occurs every few days: my mid-afternoon coffee break. My time to relax with a friend; moan a little about life, school, and research; and recharge for the final push of productivity until 4:30 pm. And today I’m not missing that!
We meet outside the building and walk to the library and into the coffee shop. We get our drink and take a seat in the large foyer of the library, being overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the undergraduates and fellow academics scurrying around us. The background noise is almost music, which relaxes me in the comfortable din. Then, we can begin catching up. We talk about anything interesting from the day, research triumphs or failures, plans for the weekend, upcoming field season preparations. I know my friend needs this time away from her desk as much as I do, and that makes me feel better, knowing that her life can be just as crazy without a kid as mine is with one.
Then she asks, “Are you going to the 4:30 pm seminar and reception tonight for the invited speaker?”